New recycling process could cut down on millions of tons of plastic waste

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Scientists have pioneered a method for reclaiming the polymers in these materials using solvents, a technique they've dubbed Solvent-Targeted Recovery and Precipitation (STRAP) processing.
Around 100 million tons of multilayer thermoplastics are produced globally every year. 40% of that total is waste from the manufacturing process itself, and because there has been no way to separate the polymers, practically the entirety of that plastic ends up in landfills or incinerators.

Now, the University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers have engineered a method for reclaiming the polymers in these materials using solvents. Scientists dubbed this technique as Solvent-Targeted Recovery and Precipitation (STRAP) processing.

The method separates the polymers in a commercial plastic composed of common layering materials polyethylene, ethylene vinyl alcohol, and polyethylene terephthalate. And the resulting separated polymers appear chemically similar to those used to make the original film.

Scientists hope to use the recovered polymers to create new plastic materials. This…
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